LotRO Expansion To Bring Players into the Mines of Moria
The Longbeards of Middle-earth once dwelled in a vast and lovely earthen city called Khazad-dûm deep underneath the Misty Mountains. Full of great halls, mansions, a thriving mithril mining industry and thousands of happy dwarfs it was an enviable metropolis founded by Durin. Sometime, during the Third Age the Longbeards dug too deep, exhausting the once plentiful mithril and found something horrible – The Balrog. Once disturbed, this powerful and evil entity killed King Durin VI and his son Náin, and drove the Longbeards from their home. Durin’s Bane, as the creature became known as, stayed within Khazad-dûm, and due to being left unattended, the great underground city became overrun with orcs and the elves renamed it Moria, which literally means “the black pit”.
After the events in “The Hobbit”, Balin, Flói, Frár, Lóni Náli, Óin, and Ori went back into Moria to try and reclaim it from the orcs and attempt to reestablish the once great kingdom. Unfortunately, an Orc archer killed Balin, and once again the Longbeards were forced from their ancestral home. Years later, The Fellowship entered Moria on their way to destroy the ring and found the tomb of Balin along with orcs and Durin’s Bane – The Balrog. We all know what happens next, so I will bring my history lesson to a close.
If you are curious as to why I have given you background information on Moria, it is not because I am trying to flaunt the fact that I have been a LotR nerd for over 23 years or anything, its only because the Mines of Moria is the new expansion coming to LotRO.
During Codemasters COC 08 event held in Birmingham, England (subsequently the childhood home of Tolkien) Turbine, and Codemasters Online unveiled Volume II of The Lord of the Rings Online, which is the first retail expansion for the MMORPG. Mines of Moria will expand the online world of Middle-earth and allow players to explore the ancient underground cities of the dwarves, battle nasty characters within the depths, face off with the Watcher, be a part of the fateful release of Durin’s Bane, meet the ethereal Galadriel and more. Oh my, we get to fight The Balrog, sweet holy yes!
The new expansion is tentatively expected to be available sometime this Fall, and with the level cap moving from 50 to 60, it should give players who have exhausted all options with their characters a reason to log back on. Another feature announced is the ability for groups of 3, 5, 12 and 24 players to be involved in instances, new “monster player” content, more environment-aware AI, and the opportunity to join the Fellowship in Lorien.
“The Mines of Moria is one of the most epic settings in all of fantasy fiction,” said Jim Crowley, president and CEO of Turbine, Inc. “No one delivers more quality content than Turbine and with our journey into Moria, we will raise the bar even higher. We are adding vast amounts of content, debuting massive new environments and unveiling numerous unique feature sets, like item advancement, which will create entirely new dimensions of compelling game play and social interaction which are unique to The Lord of the Rings Online experience.”
A host of features will be included in the expansion such as:
- Speak Friend, and Enter – Moria, called Khazad-dûm by the dwarves, was their capital and the grandest of cities. This enormous underground cavern in north-western Middle-earth, comprises an immense network of tunnels, chambers, mines and huge halls that run beneath and ultimately through the Misty Mountains. For the first time, players of The Lord of the Rings Online will enter this ancient city which has served as the foundation for the modern-day dungeon-crawling adventures to battle the hordes of goblins and the Nameless of the Deep and journey through hundreds of new quests within six new kinds of stunning environments.
- The Epic Continues — The Mines of Moria represents the beginning of Volume II of The Lord of the Rings Online. Players can experience six new books as part of this update and participate in the release of Durin’s Bane, battle the Watcher, and aid Galadriel.
- Increased Level Cap — Players will be able advance their characters up to level 60, gaining access to new traits, virtues, skills and class quests. The crafting system will also expand, giving players the ability to craft even more powerful items.
- Discover Two New Classes — The Rune-keeper and the Warden, the first new classes to be introduced since the launch of the game, allow players to build exciting and powerful new characters in diverse new ways.
- Forge Legendary Items – The Mines of Moria will introduce Turbine’s new item advancement system to The Lord of the Rings Online. Players will be able to forge weapons and class-related equipment and evolve them to build a legacy the likes of Bilbo’s Sting and Gandalf’s Glamdring. These legendary weapons will level-up along with the player, allowing customization by advancing the item’s virtues, adding runic legacies, modifying its titles and forming fables.
To celebrate this exciting news, Turbine and Codemasters also announced today that they will kick off a major promotion that invites everyone to unlock the Mines of Moria by visiting a special website devoted to the expansion. Visitors can learn more about Mines of Moria and play special mini-games that will be periodically released over the coming months. Certain players who participate can complete special deeds through game play and other means to unlock exclusive previews, assets and special in-game items that may help them when they delve into Mines of Moria this fall. The Unlock the Mines of Moria promotion is scheduled to begin at the end of this month.
This is grand news indeed. I am so excited over this, and I cannot wait to see Turbine’s vision of Khazad-dûm. They have done such a wonderful job creating Tolkien’s world, and I can say with absolute confidence that the Moria they create for us will be just as dark as foreboding as it was in the books and you can see exactly what their vision for Moria is when looking at the concept art. I do have a couple of nagging questions about this expansion: Will be be running into Gandalf as he is fighting the Balrog? Will we get to participate with Aragorn and the rest of the gang while we are in Moria? I guess we will just have to wait and see how this plays out, and hopefully soon we will have all of our questions answered.
Via: Press Release